All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Unlicensed gambling

Spin the wheelImage by Adam Tinworth via Flickr
So, Sarkozy has saved the day.
According to the Spanish prime minister, Germany was only won over to the Greek rescue package by Sarkozy threatening to withdraw France from the eurozone.
I bet a few mattresses round here can lie easy, then. No chance of being ripped up for the bounty in pre General de Gaulle old francs just yet.

Considering the financial chicanery which allowed Greece into the eurozone in the first place, I can't say I'm altogether surprised that it got into trouble, even though its' downfall seems to have more to do with Goldman Sachs than just the usual financial incompetence we expect from European governments.
Somehow I doubt that the European Commission's call for the right to review EU member states' budgets would have had any beneficial effect if it had been in place at the time - just look at how many times France has put up two fingers after being called to order about its' budget deficits.

So, we've had sub prime and sovereign debt so far....and our governments have been raiding the till to make sure that those responsible for the disaster can survive to go on and do it again.
This is not what I call a sound policy.
Unless you are bank, of course, in which case you just rub your hands and look for another mug to shaft, secure in the knowledge that you are too big to be taken out by any mere national government.

Political parties claim to worry about the democratic deficit, in the sense that they need the legitimacy that comes from votes cast at elections.
Perhaps it might occur to them that people would have more confidence in them if they were not seen as being hand in glove with confidence tricksters who, whatever the mess, walk away unscathed.

In France, you can't hold your own share certificates for fear that you might do a runner with them to somewhere outside French jurisdiction, so regulated are we, but, having had dealings with the local branch of Credit Agricole it comes as no surprise to learn that they are under investigation in the U.S.A. for overstating their assets. They probably had my shares in that little bundle somewhere.
Americans living abroad are having trouble maintaining their home bank accounts thanks to the operation of the Patriot Act, but the banks roll on unhindered, transferring funds from country to country at will.

Transferring money for mere mortals has become a pain in the neck. Ten thousand euros or dollars or pounds is not a lot of money these days - and getting less before our eyes - and I cannot see why I have to justify its' source while the big banks are busy knowingly operating scams in the interests of their major customers with no requirement to justify anything at all.
After all, even if they're threatened with a civil suit, they can always bribe their way out of it, as Goldman Sachs with the SEC in the States, and there's no risk at all of a criminal suit being filed.
The law is a well trained watchdog and never bites its' masters.

What has brought about this access of bile?

The triumphalism surrounding the Greek rescue package, where all of us will be paying to rescue - not Greece or the Greeks, but the banks who were caught with Greek government bonds when the solids hit the fan.

If you want to run a casino, you need a licence.

If you want to set up a bank, you need a licence.

But if you want to run your bank like a casino with a crooked roulette wheel, far from having the gendarmerie on the doorstep, you'll have democratically elected governments showering you with money that should be spent on the decencies of, education and pensions.

The answer to where power lies in the modern state was discovered years ago by the IRA.
Attempts on Heathrow, pub bombings, an attack on a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street - all were unavailing in bringing about serious talks.
One hit on the City of London and they'd won.

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